January 8, 2013
Thanksgiving of 2009 was the first time I met Shanta and the wonderful children of New Image Youth Center. I had been asked by a friend to help prepare a Thanksgiving meal for NIYC. My friend had only told me that this was an inner city youth center that was located in Parramore- the most crime ridden part of Orlando. i was completely blown away by a group of 50 children who were the most polite, well-mannered, happy group of children I had been around in a long time. From that moment on, I wanted to know more about the center and especially about the wonderful young lady who was mentoring these young people. Shanta, the founder and director, is very intentional in her approach with the children. She has not only created a safe haven for children to come to, but for a lot of these children she has created a family unit, something they don't have any place else. She is constantly exposing her students to every available opportunity to help them grow and learn and that will give them relevant life skills. Whether its public speaking, going on campouts, shooting baskets with the Magic basketball players,practicing yoga, learning how to use an iPad, hosting a community party, planting and caring for a garden, writing a book and much more, Shanta challenges her kids to be the best that they can be at everything they do, Shanta is literally changing a community one child at a time. Being a part of New Image Youth Center has changed my life and I feel so blessed to be a part of the Board of New Image Youth Center.
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MY ROLE:Board Member